What Is Spaghetti Squash Good For?

The Healthy Spaghetti
Botanical name: Cucurbita pepo

Spaghetti Squash Nutrition Facts

Spaghetti squash possesses an uncanny resemblance to spaghetti strands when cooked, and for this reason is known as vegetable spaghetti, noodle squash, vegetable marrow and “squaghetti.”1

Spaghetti squash is an oblong vegetable that measures between 8 and 14 inches in length, weighs 2 to 3 pounds, and has flesh with a very pale yellow color.2 It is a variety of the winter squash and has a mild taste similar to pasta.3

This squash variety is often used as a healthful substitute for pasta due to its low carbohydrate levels.4

Its origin is not quite clear, with sources saying it originated from the Americas, specifically Mexico.5 Other accounts note that it was first cultivated in China and subsequently introduced to other countries.6

Spaghetti squash can be added to a variety of dishes, such as soups and stews, or eaten raw. When served as “spaghetti,” it can be topped with a wide variety of pasta sauces.

The best spaghetti squash possesses a deep yellow color. An unripe spaghetti squash will be marred with green marks and is best avoided. It can be stored at room temperature for several weeks.7

Health Benefits of Spaghetti Squash

health benefits of spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash is rich in the B vitamins riboflavin, niacin and thiamin, which promote optimal cellular function.8,9 Folate is also found in this bright-colored vegetable.10 Folate supports the formation and development of new cells and may help prevent birth defects, making this squash an ideal food for pregnant women. This nutrient can also help filter out homocysteine from your blood and promote cardiovascular health.11

Potassium, a mineral that maintains proper muscle and nerve function, is also present in spaghetti squash, making it helpful for people with high blood pressure.12 Manganese, a mineral that assists in bone and tissue health, metabolism, calcium absorption, and nerve function, is another key component.13,14 Spaghetti squash also contains the essential minerals calcium, iron, phosphorus and zinc.

Another reason to consume spaghetti squash is for its omega-3 and omega-6 fats content.15 Omega-3 fats are associated with the prevention of inflammation, which may cause heart disease, arthritis and certain types of cancer.16 On the other hand, omega-6 fats are linked to proper brain function.17 It is critical to maintain the ideal 1:1 ratio of these fats.

Spaghetti Squash Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 3.5 ounces (100 grams), raw
  Amt. Per
Serving
% Daily
Value*
Calories 31  
Calories from Fat 5  
Total Fat 1 g 1%
Saturated Fat 0 g 1%
Trans Fat    
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 17 mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 7 g 2%
Dietary Fiber   0%
Sugar    
Protein 1 g  
Vitamin A 1% Vitamin C 4%
Calcium 2% Iron 2%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie

Studies on Spaghetti Squash

One study screened the seed extracts of spaghetti squash to detect the presence of phytochemicals, such as alkaloids, saponins, tannins, phlobatannins, steroids, glycosides and terpenoids. To extract the spaghetti squash, solvents like methanol, chloroform, acetone, benzene and petroleum ether were used.

When tested against microbial strains such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus vulgaris, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli, it was found that extracts derived with methanol and acetone showed the most potent antimicrobial properties.18

Spaghetti Squash Healthy Recipes:
Spaghetti Squash With Wicked Good Sauce

If you’d like to add this nutrient-filled vegetable to your diet, you’ll be delighted to know that there are numerous recipes you can try out. Here are two healthy choices you and your family will love:

Spaghetti Squash Healthy Recipes

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash, about 3 pounds

 

3/4 to 1 cup of wicked good sauce (recipe as follows)

 

Procedures:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash the spaghetti squash, then poke with fork or metal skewer in about six places. Place in shallow baking pan with sides.
  2. Bake for 90 minutes or until fork tender. Allow the squash to cool for about 10 minutes, then transfer it to the cutting board. Cut it in half, lengthwise. Remove the seeds and pulp with a large spoon or an ice cream scoop, then discard. Using a fork, rake the flesh onto a large platter or bowl to create the spaghetti-like strands.
  3. Tosh the squash with the Wicked Good Sauce and serve warm.

Wicked Good Sauce Ingredients:

1/2 cup of water (or more)

1 teaspoon coconut oil

1 clove garlic

1/2 teaspoon minced ginger

1/4 green bell pepper

1 Tbsp. almond butter

1 Tbsp. tamari soy sauce

1/4 medium-sized onion, chopped

2 Tbsp. chopped celery leaves

2 Tbsp. toasted pumpkin seeds

   

Procedures:

  1. Sauté onion in oil with the whole garlic. When the onion is tender, smash the garlic with a fork. Add the ginger and bell pepper and cook gently a minute more.
  2. Stir in the almond butter and tamari, and then add the water and celery leaves. Stir the mixture until smooth, then simmer for about five minutes. Add the pumpkin seeds and heat through.

Note: This recipe makes four servings.

(From: "Healthy Recipes for Your Nutritional Type" by Dr. Mercola)

Spaghetti Squash Aglio Olio With Rainbow Chard Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Himalayan salt

8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Pepper

1 bunch rainbow chard, chopped

1 large or 2 medium-sized spaghetti squash, halved and deseeded

1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Procedures:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of coconut oil all over the cut sides of the spaghetti squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Place cut side up on a baking sheet. Roast for about 30 to 45 minutes or until the squash is tender enough to scrape into strands.
  4. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the remaining olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes.
  5. Cook the ingredients for about five to eight minutes or until the garlic is caramelized and fragrant, stirring often.
  6. Stir in the chard. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. When the squash is done, scrape it into strands and toss in garlic oil and 1/4 cup of water.
  8. Add parsley and parmesan. Toss again to coat. Serve.

(Adapted from Half-Baked Harvest)

Spaghetti Squash Fun Facts

Both pasta and spaghetti squash have low amounts of fat, salt and fiber. However, pasta has over 100 calories, while spaghetti squash has only about 20 calories, is richer in protein and has a lower carb content than pasta’s 31 grams.

Creating vegetable spaghetti from spaghetti squash is simple. All you need is a slow cooker or a crock pot. Add 2 cups of water to the slow cooker. Pierce the shell of the spaghetti squash shell several times with a fork, then put it in the slow cooker. Let it cook for about eight to nine hours. Once cooked, let it cool for 10 to 20 minutes. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Using a fork, separate the strands to achieve the same form as pasta.